Malaysia cartoonist Zunar charged with sedition over tweets 

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April 3, Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Alhaque known for his criticism of the ruling coalition has been charged with nine counts of sedition for criticising the country’s judiciary in a series of tweets.

Alhaque, better known as Zunar, had criticised the judiciary in a series of posts on Twitter on 10 February, when opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was due to start a five-year prison sentence on sodomy charges.

He had tweeted: “The lackeys in black robes are proud of their sentence. The rewards from the political masters must be plenty.”

In another post he said: “Today Malaysia is seen as a country without law.”

“This is a record, being charged nine times and using the sedition law. It is excessive and targeted at silencing vocal critics,” said lawyer of Zunar, Latheefa Koya. Zunar faces up to 43 years in jail if found guilty on all nine charges, she said.

Anwar’s arrest was seen by many as politically motivated to eliminate any threat to the ruling coalition, whose popularity has slowly been eroding since 2008 after more than five decades of dominance.

Anwar and his three-member opposition alliance were seen as the most potent political threat to Prime Minister Najib Razak’s coalition.

Anwar led his alliance to unprecedented gains in 2008 elections and made further inroads in polls in 2013 when Najib’s National Front coalition won with a slimmer majority and lost the popular vote to the opposition.

Zunar posted a new cartoon on Twitter after his release on bail, vowing to “draw until the last drop of ink”. The cartoon showed Zunar being cuffed and with a metal chain on his neck, but still drawing with a brush in his mouth.

Sedition as defined by Malaysian law includes promoting hatred against the government.

The Oslo Times

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